Driven by data; ridden with liberty.
(Video: Labour Party)
Labour’s second iteration of political broadcasts focusses on the National Health Service (NHS). Released with Mirror Online, the film switches between Harry Leslie Smith, who was born in 1923 and used the NHS at its inception, and an unnamed registrar in obstetrics and gynecology, who has worked in the NHS for five years.
Mr Smith speaks of his harrowing upbringing, warning:
The NHS is not just important, it is essential. A healthy society means a healthy country.
I don’t want my past to become Britain’s future. You must make sure the NHS will continue: for you, your children, and hopefully your grandchildren.
The unnamed registrar adds, hyperbolically:
If it continues as it is, the NHS as we know it won’t exist anymore.
A voice-over then makes various promises, that patients will have a “GP appointment within 48 hours”, and that “no-one will wait more than one-week for a cancer test and result”.
Despite the portents of doom, the NHS still exists. According to the Institute of Fiscal Studies, health expenditures in England increased by 4.3%, from £105.3bn in 2010-11 to £109.9bn in 2014-15. By contrast, social service spending dropped from £23.6bn to £21.8bn — a reduction of 11.8% (the figures are given in 2015-16 prices).
Whilst the new level of health services could be achieved by a Labour government, the alternative is not destruction of the NHS. Speaking of “protecting” the NHS from other parties in a democratic government is emotionally manipulative. This is hardly an uplifting campaign.
(Video: Green Party of England & Wales)
Hoping their broadcast would be spread virally throughout social media, the Green Party chose a distinctive tone for their film. After asking for a refrain from tactical voting, the presenter of Change the Tune says:
There’s only one party that stands by its belief, whilst every other party seems so similar it’s like they’re in harmony.
The word ‘harmony’ begins a three-minute ode to austerity, sung by the party leaders of Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrats and UKIP, as if they were in a boy-band.
Whilst the eccentricity may be entrancing, it rests upon the standard political fallacy that to agree on a particular issue — such as the general direction of overall government spending — means to be indistinguishable. Only from the peripheries does the forest look like a tree.
As the election looks likely to produce a hung parliament, the electorate will speak in a discordant choir.